INSTITUTE FOR REPORTERS` FREEDOM AND SAFETY STATEMENT

May 7th, 2010
The Institute for Reporters` Freedom and Safety condemns the subjection of Norwegian journalist Erling Borgen and his operator Dag Inge Dahlin to rude behavior by the Security Board in the Heydar Aliyev International Airport, and assesses the deletion of their video-photo records as an attack by the government against freedom of speech.

Yesterday, 6 May, Norwegian journalist Erling Borgen and his operator Dag Inge Dahl were detained at 5 a.m. by the Security Board in the Heydar Aliyev International Airport. They were subjected to rude behavior, and an attempt was made to break their video-camera. The journalist was not allowed to take his bag into the plane and the bag was left in the luggage (baggage) without the journalist’s permission. When the journalist took his bag from the baggage in Oslo he saw that his discs that held all the recording he had during his six days in Azerbaijan and flash disks were missing from his bag.

IRFS recalls that Borgen, who is the author of “In the Shadow of Statoil” film dedicated to slain Monitor journal editor-in-chief Elmar Huseynov, and to freedom of speech in Azerbaijan, is working on a film dedicated to the Editor-in-chief of Gundelik Azerbaydjan and Realniy Azerbaydjan newspapers, Eynulla Fatullayev.

IRFS considers that this action against this Norwegian journalist proves that the Azerbaijani government is the enemy of freedom of speech. This demonstrates once again that the government not only does not want to release Eynulla Fatullayev, who was vindicated by the decision of the European Court of Human Rights, but also wants to prevent the documentary film about him from being produced.

IRFS calls on Azerbaijan’s administration to apologize to the journalist for the incident and to punish those who committed this action.

IRFS calls upon Azerbaijan’s administration to immediately release Eynulla Fatullayev, imprisoned bloggers Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade, and to end multiple efforts against freedom of speech.